This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. Read the original story in full in The Intercept Brasil.
Brazil will soon have, in the middle of the Amazon, the largest gold refinery in the country. For the government of Pará, it is a strategic step to organize the economy of the state, ravaged by deforestation and illegal mining. The announcements, however, hide who is behind the North Star Refinery: Sylvain Goetz, a member of a family that owns an empire of precious ores.
Whistleblowers and others in possession of sensitive information of public concern can now securely and confidentially share tips, documents, and data with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network (RIN), its editors, and journalists.
The Goetz family has grown rich through a company named after its patriarch, Tony Goetz, who passed away in 2005. In 2020, Belgian courts convicted Alain and Sylvain, Tony's sons, of money laundering and fraud by creating a clandestine gold market. Sylvain is an investor in the new refinery in Pará, as shown by documents from the Pará Board of Trade obtained by the Intercept.